'I Lost 125 Pounds With The Help Of Rachel Hollis' Super-Popular Last 90 Days Challenge'
My name is Kiah Twisselman (@kiah_twisselman), and I am 27 years old. I live in San Luis Obispo, California, and I’m a weight loss coach and owner of a creative marketing company called Burley & Barley, as well as a sixth generation cattle rancher at Twisselman Ranch. I was frustrated with my weight, so I decided to make some big changes. I’ve now lost 125 pounds.
I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t overweight growing up. I battled obesity most of my life. I was raised in rural California on my family’s now seventh generation cattle ranch, an hour from the nearest grocery store, gas station, or high school. We were surrounded by wide open spaces, beautiful wildlife, and the most incredible home-cooked meals.
Food was comforting for me. I ate when I was sad, angry, excited, happy, bored—you name it. But my weight made doing normal things on the ranch difficult for me, whether that was lifting hay bales or feeding cattle, being able to mount a horse, or keep up with my brothers and cousins.
The earliest I can remember going on a diet was around 10 years old.
I did the Atkins diet with my parents. I yo-yo dieted off and on through high school and college. After so many failed attempts, I would eventually get to a point where I accepted that I was a victim to the poor genetic hand I was dealt, and that just maybe there was nothing I could do about it.
After college, I moved to Germany for a year. I remember how difficult it was for me to do simple things like walk from my host family’s house to the university or even have the energy to explore at all. I love to travel, but my weight made fitting into airplane seats challenging and at one point I even had to ask for a seat belt extender, which felt like a new low for me.
I was also worried about my health. Diabetes and heart disease run in my family. I became complacent and just simply accepted that it wasn’t if I were to get diabetes and/or heart disease, but when. I grew up in a big family, and I knew I wanted to have my own someday if possible. I would hear stories about overweight women struggling to get pregnant or stay pregnant, and I knew that if I wanted the best chances of being a mom one day, then I needed to start taking care of myself.
My turning point came during a squished flight from Kentucky to Arizona for a work conference.
I had just bought Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face. On that one plane ride, I devoured it from start to finish. It was the words I needed at the time, and I was ready to receive them. It was a wake-up call for me that if I wanted to change anything about my life—my health, my career, my relationships—then it was 100 percent up to me to do it. Instead of playing victim to my circumstances—my job, my income, my genetics—I knew it was time that I take complete ownership of my choices.
I started following Rachel on social media and saw her Last 90 Days Challenge pop up in my feed.
She had what she called her “5 to Thrive,” or five simple daily habits that she challenged you to do each day for the last 90 days of the year (read all about it here):
On October 1, 2018, at the age of 25, I decided to start my weight loss journey with those five habits.
By the end of December, I had lost 25 pounds. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like on January 1st I was making a bunch of empty promises I knew I wouldn’t stick with.
I wanted to find a way to fuel my body with healthy foods that make it feel great while still being able to enjoy the foods I love! Some of my food philosophies include:
Here’s what I typically eat in a day.
- Breakfast: Two eggs, two slices of bacon, and a cup of coffee with sugar-free hazelnut creamer
- Lunch: A Greek grain bowl (grilled chicken, quinoa, garlic yogurt sauce, cucumber, tomatoes, arugula)
- Snacks: Fresh fruit, beef jerky
- Dinner: Steak salad (mixed greens, thinly sliced and grilled tri-tip steak, apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, balsamic dressing)
- Dessert: A glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate
I used to be very self-conscious about going to a gym and working out in public. So I met myself where I was at.
For me, that meant starting with free YouTube dance workout videos in my living room. More than a year and a half later, that’s still one of my favorite ways to exercise.
I recently decided to start training for a marathon, so I try to run at least three times a week on my favorite trail by the ocean or at my family’s ranch. I sprinkle in free strength training workouts from YouTube using a set of dumbbells, a few rides on a stationary bike ride while watching my favorite Netflix show, and the occasional yoga or hike with friends in between.
I try to move my body for at least 30 minutes every day, even if some days that just means a simple walk on the ranch.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss journey.
Change one: I readjusted my mindset. My physical transformation is the most apparent, but my mindset change has been the most impactful. Intentionally choosing thoughts about myself that felt like love instead of hate and judgement was the greatest change I made, and that has led to my success. Choosing to love myself and the future self I am always striving to become motivates me to show up and do the hard thing, even when I don’t feel like it.
Change two: I adopted intuitive eating. Our bodies are incredibly intuitive if we take the time to pause and really listen to them. Instead of telling myself that certain foods were off limits, I started listening to my body telling me when it was satisfied rather than finishing everything on my plate and becoming uncomfortably full. This gave me the freedom to enjoy the foods I loved in moderation and in a way that made me feel satisfied without feeling deprived.
Change three: I focused on small baby steps and consistency. I stopped beating myself up when I made a mistake and chose to forgive myself and fail my way forward no matter what. It can be frustrating when you don’t see results quickly, but it is the small, consistent baby steps along the way that make the biggest impact. It’s not about waiting to feel motivated, but about being disciplined enough to keep showing up, especially when you don’t feel like it—that’s where the magic is.
I reached my goal of losing 100 pounds just three days before the one-year anniversary of my health journey.
To date, I’ve lost 125 pounds.
I’ll admit, I still haven’t reached my “goal weight.” What I’ve come to realize, though, is that it’s not really about a goal weight. Sure, it’s great to set goals, but really this whole journey is more about the person you become along the way. It’s about choosing daily to appreciate your body, fuel your body, and strengthen your body to continue striving to be the best version of you—not about reaching an arbitrary number on the scale.
When I started my health journey, I’ll admit that it was hard to look in the mirror and love myself. I practiced imagining my future self, the best possible version of me, and asking myself what she would be doing, how she would be showing up, and what I needed to do today to get one step closer to her.
I would look in the mirror and say, “Okay, Kiah, maybe we don’t love the way we look or feel right now, but we are going to love our future self enough to show up and do the hard thing today.”
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